COVID-19 and Climate: Human Response

Why does an invisible, life-threatening virus prompt a nationwide emergency, but invisible, life-threatening gases don’t? Experts have been emphasizing the dangers of unchecked climate change for years, underscoring the need for rapid, bold action early-on to avoid the worst impacts. Now health experts are pushing the same level of global mobilization to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus. Why are humans wired to respond to some fears and emergencies more than others? Can the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic teach us anything about how humans respond to other invisible, global threats? Visit for more information on today's episode. Guests: Peter Atwater, Adjunct Professor of Economics, College of William & Mary Susan Clayton, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology, College of Wooster Robert H. Frank, Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business Additional interviews: Shannon Osaka, Climate Reporter, Grist This program was recorded at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on March 24, 2020, Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One